Summer Vegetables with Gnocchi

I found this recipe in one of the Everyday Food magazines from Martha Stewart. I'd always wanted to try gnocchi and the recipe looked simple enough to try. The nice thing about this dish is that it only requires a few ingredients and the most expensive was the cheese, which I do recommend splurging on the good stuff!

Pint of cherry tomatoes
2-3 zucchinis
16oz package of gnocchi
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh basil
Pat of butter
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Assembly is pretty simple. Saute the zuccinis, add the halved tomatoes. Cook gnocchi for a few minutes reserving some of the water to make the sauce. Add the gnocchi to the vegetables. Add remaining ingredients, saved water, butter, and basil. Finish with the cheese.

This was delicious! The picture doesn't do it much justice. It is a bright, colorful, and savory dish. I've already made it twice now! The second time I made it I added some left over spinach I had and that's what in the picture above.

Cat's Summer Pasta Salad

This afternoon I felt inspired to try to recreate a pasta salad that my friend Cat made one night on the fly. She makes the best food ever. Only problem is that it's a one time deal as she doesn't follow a recipe or write anything down, which is also the exciting part of eating her creations.

Here's my version:
Gluten-free spiral noodles


Artichoke hearts

Chopped onion

Fresh chopped basil

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Scant amount of Rice vinegar

Minced garlic

Salt and Pepper

Newman's Own lime dressing

Morning Star veggie chik'n strips

Thinly sliced radish from my garden

This salad turned out really well in my opinion. I feel like it's still missing a little something. Cat's was much better than mine, but I would definitely make it again.

Album Review!

For those of you that know me personally know that I eat, sleep, and breathe MUSIC! It is truly my passion. So for this blog post I thought I'd do something a little different and review an album. I was in La Crosse, Wisconsin last weekend and picked up the following from Deaf Ear Records, an independent music store (I was a bit disappointed in their selection):

Depeche Mode - Sounds of the Universe
Air - Pocket Symphony
Lady Sovereign - Jigsaw
The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love
Santigold - Santogold
Kings of Leon - Only by the Night
P.O.S. - Never Better
Royksopp - Junior

I'll be reviewing the album by P.O.S. - Never Better

I know I have the strangest taste in music so it's not really surprising I'd like a hip-hop artist from Minneapolis. Surprisingly, Minneapolis has a good underground hip-hop scene. I'll admit that I don't know much about hip-hop, besides the fact I think that the stuff they play on the radio is stupid and entirely commercialized, I do like thoughtful and poetic hip-hop.

The album starts out strong with the first track Let It Rattle then moves on to Drumroll (We're All Thirsty) which features Doomtree. I really like track three, Savion Glover which is a fun upbeat track, which references punk group, Fugazi. I pushed skip for the next two songs and stopped on track six, Goodbye, which is the single to the album played often on The Current on Minnesota Public Radio.

Track eight is probably my favorite, Been Afraid. I like the story of the two young lovers struggling with their own demons to finally trusting each other and healing.

The rest of the tracks are all good but none that make me stop and listen. I don't mean that it's a bad album, just none that I've been in the mood for lately.

Overall I really enjoyed this CD. I know it's an album that I'll grow to love even more as time goes on just because there are so many different moods present on the CD. What I like most about the album is that his lyrics make you think. They don't talk about getting lots of money and how many "bitches" he has. It's thoughtful and poetic set to a beat!

So if anyone is interested in exploring the world of underground/independent hip-hop I strongly recommend picking up this album!

I just Tweeted.

A running joke among friends, we used to wonder what the heck Twitter was. We knew everyone was tweeting, yet we still had no idea what it did or what it was supposed to do. Was it like Facebook? Myspace? Did you have a profile? What was everyone Tweeting about?!

Then I was talking with a coworker that asked if I was on Twitter. This was shocking to me because my coworker was the last person I thought to be on Twitter. Well she informed me what it was and I made up my mind that night to make a Twitter account. I mean, for research purposes only right?

Well now I'm following the Tweets of the editor for Gourmet Magazine, Terry Gross of NPR, and my own personal God of Rock, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.

There's something that seems taboo about Twitter. Like those that Twitter (yes it's a verb too) get picked on. Why do us Twitterers think anyone would care about what we're doing at any given minute? Are we that narcissistic? Because humans are curious. We do care. Why does almost every cable channel on TV feature at least one reality show? The same reason why people like to read other people's Tweets. We want to know what other people are doing in their life. Maybe we think our life is boring compared to others or we want to know what our loved ones are doing. But we are constantly wondering about the world around us.

Maybe that's getting too philosophical for my little blog but it's just a fun observation. Anyway, if any of you wanted to know, I'm sitting in the library working on a project about wind turbines. I just Tweeted.

Le Creuset!!!!

I did it. I bought a Le Creuset dutch oven. It is the most beautiful piece of cookware I have ever seen. I've wanted one for so long but being as expensive as they are I held off. I finally decided to say to heck with it and get one.

What excites me the most is that it will last a lifetime and I will be able to cook pretty much anything in it. I can't wait to get little brown bits of meat stuck to the bottom to scrape off and make a tasty sauce with. As you can see I've got it all planned out.

I'm too poor right now to go out and buy anything worthwhile to make a meal out of so I broke it in with a hodgepodge curry I made. I'll make another post when I make a full-blown meal in it.

Slumdog Millionaire

What an amazing movie. I wasn't even aware it was playing in my town's tiny theater, but thanks to an email from a professor I as able to see it right before the Academy Awards.

I am still running on the high you get after seeing an excellent movie. At the risk of sounding cliche, this movie moved me in so many ways. I traveled to India about a year ago and saw firsthand many of the sights shown in the movie. The great part about this movie is that it showed the sad inner workings of India through the eyes of someone living it, which is a world many tourists will never know.

Everything about this movie was great. I was pulled in to the movie from the beginning scene and my eyes never left the screen until the credits began. I know this is sounding a bit over dramatic but I just can't convey how wonderful this movie is. I encourage you all to go see it! The music in the movie is great as well and I can't wait to buy the soundtrack and the movie!

Under Pressure!

Tonight I had a night off from work and thought it was a great opportunity to actually cook something. I went to the grocery store after class and got some items including the cheese of the month, Gouda. I'll figure out what to do with that later... Tonight I figured I'd try my hand at making something Moroccan-ish. I picked up an artichoke and some chicken while I was at the store and got to cookin'.

I put the artichoke in my new 3-in-1 pressure cooker after trimming off the pointy bits on the leaves. It cooked for 8 minutes.

I decided to try the Bare Chicken seeing as how I'm all for natural and organic foods and better treatment of animals.

I thought I'd let you guys check out the sizzling goodness for yourself instead of a picture. In the pan I had a few fennel seeds, a clove of garlic, half a small onion, and a tich each of garlic powder, allspice, and ground coriander. While that was cooking I made couscous and into the boiling water I put a pinch of dried sweet basil leaves. It all turned out really well. I don't know if the basil was a good addition to the couscous though. The chicken was also worth the price. I had a slice of roasted garlic bread as well that I dipped into the melted butter for the artichoke.

The finished product! Yumm!

Viva la Mexico!

Tonight I had a craving for quesadillas. I picked up a few groceries last night and got cookin' after I got home from work. I was inspired to make these after my friend Dee and I made some great quesadillas one night last week.

I started by marinating two enormous chicken breasts in lime juice and a sprinkling of Mrs. Dash's "Southwest Blend". They took a while to cook up because they were so big.

After the chicken breasts were done I rinsed the pan and sauteed a clove of garlic in olive oil for a few seconds and added in a medium onion. A little bit of added salt helps to speed up the cooking of the onions. Once the onions were turning brown I added a red and green bell pepper.

As soon as I added the peppers I saw the Mexican flag appear right before my eyes and the song below started playing!!!:

After all that excitement the filling was done and I shredded up the chicken

Then came assembly...

The final product! They turned out great and I served them with sour cream, guacamole, and Paul Newman's peach salsa (shout out to my friend Cat!). And of course no meal is complete without a delicious libation! Tonight I had Widmer Brothers Drop Top Amber Ale, which was delicious!

¡Muy Sabroso!

My Current Addiction

So for my first post I thought I'd share a website that I'm addicted to. It's called Etsy and their About page describes them as: "An online marketplace for buying & selling all things handmade."

I forgot how I heard about this site, but I can't get enough. Much of my afternoons are spent browsing the vast amounts of merchandise that individual vendors are selling. What I like most about Etsy is the fact that shopping is personal again. I bought a necklace over winter break from a vendor and with my package came a handwritten note thanking me for my patronage. My other favorite feature about Etsy is the ability to save items or vendors to your "Favorites" so while you're browsing through, soaps, clothes, jewelry, and pottery you don't have to worry about forgetting that awesome necklace you saw.

The other day I stumbled on the necklace above and loved that it featured a centaur, the creature associated with the Sagittarius sign. I really like the vintage/aged look to it. I don't know if I'll buy it or not but it looks great! (I linked the vendor to the image so you can view their shop). (Make sure your homework is done before clicking!)